(Editorial Opinion) If an African American girl is wearing a headwrap is it okay to refer to her as “Aunt Jemima?” Well, no it’s not. Calling an African American female Aunt Jemima is culturally insensitive and just flat out rude and here’s why:
According to the Ferris State University Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorability, “The term ‘Aunt Jemima’ is used colloquially as a female version of the derogatory label ‘Uncle Tom.’ From slavery through the Jim Crow era, the mammy image served the political, social, and economic interests of mainstream white America. During slavery, the mammy caricature was posited [assumed] as proof that blacks — in this case, black women — were contented, even happy, as slaves. Her wide grin, hearty laughter, and loyal servitude were offered as evidence of the supposed humanity of the institution of slavery.”
With this as evidence, does the term “Aunt Jemima” seem offensive when applied to a student’s dress code? Absolutely!
So if a teacher has a question about a student’s outfit in regards to dress code, just review the rules, don’t use offensive terms.
—-Erika Langford, Reporter